Op-Ed: By Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and Secretary of the Department of Defense Ash Carter
Antibiotics save millions of lives every year. Today, however, the emergence of drug resistance in bacteria is undermining the effectiveness of current antibiotics and our ability to treat and prevent disease.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that drug-resistant bacteria cause two million illnesses and approximately 23,000 deaths each year in the United States alone.
Antibiotic resistance also limits our ability to perform a range of modern medical procedures, such as chemotherapy, surgery, and organ transplants. That’s why fighting antibiotic resistance is a national priority.
Combating and preventing antibiotic resistance, however, will be a long-term effort. That’s why, today, the Administration is releasing the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (NAP).
The NAP outlines a whole-of-government approach over the next five years targeted at addressing this threat:
1. Slow the emergence of resistant bacteria and prevent the spread of resistant infections
The judicious use of antibiotics in health care and agriculture settings is essential to combating the rise in antibiotic resistance. We can help slow the emergence of resistant bacteria by being smarter about prescribing practices across all human and animal health care settings, and by continuing to eliminate the use of medically-important antibiotics for growth promotion in animals. Continue reading